Primetime College Football: Emerald Bowl
The 8th annual Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, California will see the Boston College Eagles take on the USC Trojans who are playing in a non-BCS bowl game for the first time since 2001 Bowl.
The Trojans have enjoyed quite a run under head coach Pete Carroll, but won’t be participating in a BCS bowl game for the first time since Carroll’s initial season with the program. In each of the last seven seasons, USC won at least 11 games and a share of the Pac-10 title, while ending those campaigns in the Rose Bowl or the Orange Bowl. The Trojans lost three of their final five games to finish just 8-4 overall and 5-4 in the Pac-10.
Carroll’s Trojans where lead by freshman Matt Barkley and he threw for 2,385 yards in 11 games, but with just 13 touchdowns against 12 interceptions while averaging just 169.0 passing ypg over the final five games. Damian Williams is Barkley’s top choice through the air as he led the team with 821 yards and 6 touchdowns and his 58 catches were more than double any other player on the roster. In the backfield, Joe McKnight averaged 6.1 yards per carry and he led the team with 1,014 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns but did not travel with the team as of Monday. Allen Bradford was another option on the ground with 596 yards and 8 touchdowns.
The Trojans defense was all over the place this season, holding opponents to single digits five times, while allowing over 35 points on three separate occasions. The defense is giving up 131.0 ypg on the ground compared to 211.8 ypg through the air. The Trojans have allowed 17 rushing touchdowns and 11 passing, while forcing only 20 turnovers. Everson Griffen is the team’s most consistent pass rusher as he has 8 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in 44 tackles. Taylor Mays heads the squad in tackles with 91, while Will Harris is tops with four interceptions.
As for the Eagles they fought its way to an 8-4 finish under first-year head coach Frank Spaziani and finished 5-3 in the ACC. The Eagles are playing in their 11th straight bowl but lost 16-14 to Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl last year.
The Eagles turned to 25-year-old freshman Dave Shinskie, who was a minor league baseball player prior to joining BC, was erratic and threw 13 interceptions against just 14 touchdowns. Due to the lack of experience under center, the Eagles relied heavily on sophomore tailback Montel Harris, who rushed for 1,355 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Eagle’s main threat is Rich Gunnell who hauled in 54 passes for 750 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Eagles had to play without the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Mark Herzlich who has been fighting bone cancer. True freshman Luke Kuechly took advantage of the chance and finished with 142 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss. Spaziani’s defense limited teams to 19 ppg and 104.4 ypg against the run.
BC was defeated by USC in both prior encounters in 1987 and ’88, and these two schools are set for another home-and-home series in 2013-14.
PICK: Boston College Eagles